If you combine all the worlds best-loved flavors and textures: meaty, cheesy, salty, crunchy, and gooey, what do you get? None other than one of Canada’s most famous exports: poutine.
While it may not be the healthiest dish to add to your list of favorites, poutine is a true Canadian treasure. Poutine has come a long way and, today, it’s an indulgent favorite loved by millions. But what is poutine, exactly? And how were these flavors and textures so ingeniously combined to create this delicious dish? Find out in this blog…
Then and Now
To summarize the dish, poutine is a delectable combination of french fries, topped with meaty gravy and cheese curds. But poutine lovers will no doubt argue over the best type of french fries, whether the gravy is a simple chicken gravy or sauce brune and the ideal size of the cheese curds.
So, poutine is not as simple as it sounds and has undergone many changes over the course of its inception. It’s also worth highlighting the fact that poutine is not very healthy. But let’s face it, some of the tastiest things in this world were not made to be healthy.
For the original recipe, you cook poutine fries until they are golden brown, but not too crispy. The gravy that sits atop of the fries is traditionally poultry-based or veal-based. Ideally, the gravy should be thick enough to make the fries underneath a little soggy, but also thin enough to run down to the bottom of the dish and coat everything evenly.
Finally, the cheese curds should be as fresh as possible. They shouldn’t melt any more than half-way when you serve the dish. What’s the best way to tell you have a truly traditional dish of poutine in front of you? The squeak of the cheese curds is what you need to look for when you bite into them.
The above rendition is the traditional version of poutine. But in today’s day and age, there are a number of far more exotic versions on the table. In fact, some poutineries offer more than 30 varieties of this popular dish!
Nowadays, you can find breakfast-inspired poutine, served with fried eggs and bacon. Mexican-inspired poutine features tacos, guacamole, and sour cream. You can also try out poutine dressed with caramelized onion and a variety of meats such as bacon, pulled pork, smoked brisket, hot dogs, and if you’re feeling very fancy- lobster!
Interesting Facts About Poutine
Now that you know a little more about what goes into this iconic dish, here are a few interesting facts about poutine:
1. Poutine Originated in Quebec
While there are a number of renditions on how exactly poutine came to be, one of the most common stories is that the dish came to life in Quebec in the 1950s in the town of Warwick. The restaurant was known as Le Lutin Qui Rit. The owner of the restaurant was instructed to add cheese curds to a customer’s plate of french fries to which he responded: ”Ça va faire une maudite poutine”. In other words, he complained about what a dreadful mess the dish was going to make!
2. The Dish Wasn’t Always Called Poutine
Originally, poutine was a simple mixture of just french fries and cheese curds in a 50-50 proportion, known simply as ”mixte”. As time progressed, so did the dish and meat-based gravy was added to create poutine. It’s only when large restaurant chains began selling this new concoction that the dish was then named poutine.
3. Poutine Features in the Guinness Book of World Records
The largest-ever batch of poutine was created in 2014 by Joe Beeverz of Manitoba restaurant which weighed in at a hefty 1,949 pounds. Previously, this record was held by the people of Saguenay, Quebec. However, the 2014 winner beat this record by a whopping 800 pounds more!
4. Poutine Is Available As a Soft Drink
If you’re that much of a fan of poutine, you can not only eat the dish but drink it too. Jones Soda has created a cheese-and-gravy flavored soda, inspired by poutine. So there you have it- eat and drink your heart out, poutine lovers.
5. Poutine Is Considered One of Canada’s Greatest Inventions
Canada’s list of life-changing and inspiring inventions is impressive. Some of these include the likes of insulin, the telephone, five-pin bowling, the BlackBerry and standard time. And yes, even poutine is featured on this great list. It comes in at number 10 on the list which was compiled by the Canadian Broadcasting Commission (CBC) in 2007.
6. Poutine is Featured in the Dictionary
The iconic Canadian dish is now featured in the Oxford English Dictionary, as of 2014. Along with this, the dish was added to the Merriam-Webster dictionary in the same year.
7. Gourmet Poutine is a Real Thing
You may not think of poutine as haute cuisine, but this all-time classic dish was elevated to new heights in the early 2000s. Many talented chefs took to the idea of transforming this comfort food into something that appealed to everyone, with the back-to-basics food movement. This has given rise to high-end twists on poutine which include the likes of lobster and foie gras.
Find the Finest Poutine at Fresh Burger
If you’ve been wondering ”what is poutine”, now is the time to get down to Fresh Burger and try it for yourself! With five locations throughout Ontario, including Toronto, Richmond Hill, North York, and more, you simply cannot find the freshness that we offer anywhere else.
At Fresh Burger we serve up delicious, classic burgers, served with freshly made poutine side dishes. Nothing overly fancy- but you can count on our food always being fresh and delicious. Check out our menu and explore the flavors of poutine today!